India's strategic interests in Afghanistan affected
New Delhi: What will be the stand of New Delhi on Afghanistan after it has been taken over by the Taliban militant group.
The 20 years of ‘western rule’ has come to be halted, with the Taliban militant group has finally taken over Kabul city on Sunday evening.
US President Joe Biden's administration came under severe criticism. What has happened in Afghanistan is a major embracement to NATO allies of the US but also to India. India had a strategic investment in Afghanistan since 2001 after the Taliban dethroned from US-backed NATO armed forces.
With the exit of US armed forces from Afghanistan, Russia, China and Pakistan will directly control the country's affairs. India will be at a disadvantage side in Afghanistan. Some of its policy errors about Afghanistan will haunt New Delhi for a long in the coming days.
Even after the US announced the withdrawal of its armed forces in 2014, India has engaged in strategic relations with Afghan and invested in many infrastructure projects, including the construction of Salma dam, located Hari river in Herat province, it is also popularly called as ‘Afghan- India Friendship Dam. Also, construction of the Parliament House in Kabul.
Once the Taliban has taken complete control over the internal administration of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Russia, and Iran’s influences will increase in that country, and like the US, influences will decrease. China and Pakistan will ensure the minimize the influence of New Delhi in Afghan affairs.
Biden administration has declared that the US will not legitimize the Taliban administration, considering its barbaric act against women and children.
On the contrary, China, Russia, and Pakistan have announced that they are ready to engage with the Taliban adminstration in the coming days. However, the Indian government has not stated anything about the developments in Afghanistan and its future relationship with the Taliban.
Indian policymakers are under the apprehension that with the Taliban regime is back in Afghan, it will allow to use its land for the terrorist group against India. Pakistan intelligence agency ISI will use Afghan soil to train the terrorist group against India and cross border terrorism activities would be intensified in coming days.
One of the important interests of the Indian government in Afghanistan was to achieve importance for regional connectivity through New Silk Road Strategy. This was to link Central Asia and South Asia (especially India) via Afghanistan through trade, transit, and energy routes. From the Indian side, investments at the Chabahar port in Iran and the Zaranj-Delaram Road in Afghanistan were part of this strategy.
However, the changed scenario in Afghanistan will hinder New Delhi. China’s most ambitious project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will get a push. During the Ghani government, Kabul has been keen on connecting itself to the BRI either directly or through the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).